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SkiSU opens to CSU employees, expands number of trips

With 13 round-trip rides to seven different ski resort destinations scheduled between December and April, the Colorado State University ski bus is back with more trips than ever.

For the first time, CSU employees are allowed to purchase SkiSU tickets for the full price of $30. Student tickets remain only $20 since SkiSU received $9,248 in student fees this year from the Alternative Transportation Fee Advisory Board, and students and employees can each purchase one additional guest ticket for someone not affiliated with CSU.

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Each trip allots 42 seats for students and 12 seats for employees. 

SkiSU infographic

Employees must purchase their tickets by midnight the Wednesday before the weekend trip, whereas the student deadline is 4 p.m. the Friday before. That way, any unsold employee spots become available to students who want them, said Erika Benti, active transportation professional with Parking and Transportation Services.

“We’ve had a lot of questions from employees saying, ‘Are we allowed to ride the bus?’ and in the past, we said no because SkiSU gets funding from ATFAB, and we don’t want any student fee money going towards employee tickets,” Benti said. “So, this year, we ended up working out a system where employees just pay the full, true cost of the round trip.”

With employees paying the full price, SkiSU was able to increase its trip offerings while keeping the same overall number of student seats, Benti said. The program takes rider surveys to determine which resorts students enjoy going to, and it has been looking at diversifying and expanding. 

Last year, SkiSU had 10 trips, several of which were sold out or near capacity. 

“We knew that we wanted to grow this year because we had such high demand last year,” Benti said. “But we also wanted to be careful with the budget.”

Student fees covered about 56% of the program’s total $16,448 expenses last year while ticket sales accounted for the rest.

It serves both the purpose of being a sustainability initiative and something that’s convenient for students. That’s why I enjoy working on it so much.” –Erika Benti, active transportation professional with Parking and Transportation Services

The program has seen consistent success with students since it began in 2017 as an eco-leader project.

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Political science major Manny Santistevan and business administration major Drew Bell, seniors at CSU, wanted to start a CSU ski bus to help reduce emissions from cars and provide transportation for students without cars. 

The program was piloted with five trips funded by Parking and Transportation Services and Housing and Dining Services. It started receiving money from ATFAB its second year and is now housed under PTS, which continues to think of SkiSU as a sustainability project, Benti said. 

“It serves both the purpose of being a sustainability initiative and something that’s convenient for students,” Benti said. “That’s why I enjoy working on it so much.”

Hayley Pawsey, junior business major at CSU, rode the bus her first year because she didn’t have a car but loves to ski. 

Since then, Pawsey said she has become a student ski bus representative who keeps track of who is on the bus and can answer questions such as what resources can be provided for renting gear (riders must arrange for their own lift ticket, ski or snowboard, gear, food and water for the trip). Student representatives also get free rides on the SkiSU bus and can spend their day as they like at the resort. 

Pawsey said she is excited to see how the new expansions go this year, which will determine what happens next year. 

“I just think (SkiSU) is a great opportunity for students that not many students know about,” Pawsey said. “Even though we do sell out, I think there’s so much potential for the bus program.”

Samantha Ye can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samxye4.

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